Author Topic: Can you stack two steel plates?  (Read 1187 times)

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Offline jcny

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Can you stack two steel plates?
« on: March 17, 2013, 11:33:50 AM »
The metal shop in my neighborhood quoted me $15 for a 16 X 16, 1/4" A36 steel plate (16 X 20 is the largest size my stove can handle, leaving an inch or so free on the sides).  That is the thickest they sell.  Assuming the steel is perfectly flat, would it be almost as good as a 1/2" piece, or should I hold out for a 1/2" piece?  It would certainly be easier to handle.  Or should I get a stone?

I have a generic gas oven, goes to 500 or 550, unfortunately with the bottom broiler drawer.  I want to make 16" NY style pizzas.

Thanks for the help,
Jeff from Brooklyn


Offline tombiasi

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 12:09:20 PM »
There is a difference between two 1/4 inch sheets and one half inch sheet as far as heat transfer from the bottom. This is largely a factor of surface contact. In this case if they sit flat I don't think you will see any difference. I use a stone. I have been thinking of steel after reading here since I can get a piece for free but I usually only make one or two pizzas and don't see any advantage.

Tom

Offline shuboyje

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2013, 12:29:09 PM »
The advantage of steel has nothing to do with the amount of pies you are cooking.  Steel is used to produce faster baked style of pizza in an oven that couldn't otherwise produce them due to temperature limitations.  It doesn't matter if you are cooking one pie ore twelve, the advantage of steel is the same.
-Jeff

Offline tombiasi

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 12:41:33 PM »
The advantage of steel has nothing to do with the amount of pies you are cooking.  Steel is used to produce faster baked style of pizza in an oven that couldn't otherwise produce them due to temperature limitations.  It doesn't matter if you are cooking one pie ore twelve, the advantage of steel is the same.
OK, thanks. I got the impression that most people were talking about the steels ability to stay hot after a pie was placed on it.
My stone drops very little on pie application. After two pies I would need to let it heat up again.
I may give it a try just because.

Tom

Offline chaspie

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 12:44:16 PM »
The density and the thermal conductivity of steel is greater than cordierite or other ceramic or clay pizza stone materials.  Wouldn't that improve the temperature recovery time between pizzas for steel relative to the other materials?  If so, that would seem an advantage for anyone baking two or more pizzas back to back in a home  oven. 

My cordierite stone drops 75 degrees after a pizza is baked on it, and it takes about 20 minutes to recover to full baking temp.  If steel can recover faster, that would be useful to me.

Offline henkverhaar

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2013, 01:17:37 PM »
Yes, steel should recover faster, just as it's initial heat-up is faster than a stone - at least that is my experience. 
I have not much experience with actual recovery since I usually back one pie per session/meal only.

Offline jcny

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2013, 01:32:38 PM »
After reading the "Please recommend me the right baking material for my setup" post below, scott123 said steel is always to be avoided in bottom heat only scenarios.  So I guess that counts me out.  I was thinking steel can't break, and two pieces of steel would be easier to store, because I didn't have to worry about cracking it.

As it is not ideal for a 4 minute NY pie in my oven, and I can buy a good NY slice whenever I want, would a single or double 1/4" steel work well in my oven making a Chicago deep dish or a Sicilian pie, two types I have had some success with (although i didn't have a stone or steel?  Or should I buy a stone?

Thanks,
Jeff

Offline tombiasi

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2013, 02:01:12 PM »

My cordierite stone drops 75 degrees after a pizza is baked on it, and it takes about 20 minutes to recover to full baking temp.  If steel can recover faster, that would be useful to me.

You may consider more thermal mass as opposed to conductivity. If a material heats up faster than another material it also gives up heat faster than that material. You need a certain amount energy to cook a pizza in a given amount of time. I can cook a pizza and make another one before we need it and the stone will be up to temp., but I couldn't keep cooking pizzas or the time between would get longer and longer. More thermal mass would have more energy available.

Offline chaspie

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2013, 03:56:35 PM »
My stone is an inch thick, so it has plenty of thermal mass compared to some of the thinner stones I've had in the past.  It does wonderfully for one pie when it's up to temp, but unfortunately it doesn't store enough energy to cook two pies properly back to back.  The slow recovery time is only a problem when we're doing individually customized pizzas, since we end up eating in shifts.  I mainly want to try 1/2 inch steel to see if it will significantly reduce the recovery time gap to help with that scenario.

Offline jcny

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2013, 04:03:00 PM »
I'm really not planning on doing more than one pizza per day, or per week.  The 1/4" steel is really easy and inexpensive for me to obtain, but is it appropriate for my stove, and will it work any better if I stack two of them?   A stone would probably cost 2 to 3 times more, but if it will work better, I'll get one.

Thanks,
Jeff


scott123

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2013, 06:53:36 PM »
First of all, just to clarify, steel's primary advantage is faster bake times in temperature handicapped home ovens, but it does have a smaller secondary advantage of faster pre-heats and faster recovery.

Jeff (jcny), as much as $15 is a great price for that size of steel, I don't see any application  where it would be useful in a broilerless home oven set up. Steel is a bottom browning accelerator. In an environment where bottom heat is heavily favored, there is no style of pizza that would benefit from an even faster bottom bake.

Here is my most recent recommendation for approaching a broilerless set up:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=21503.0

I highly recommend doing what ever you can to bring your oven set up up to speed. Brooklyn does have one or two stellar NY style pizzerias, but they are in somewhat remote areas. If you can get your oven set up in order, I'm highly confident that you can improve upon the pizza that you are purchasing now.


Offline jcny

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 09:29:40 PM »
Scott123, thanks for setting me straight.  So I will look for a stone, 16" deep is the maximum size which will fit on the rack.  As far as the deflector, would it make sense to get the A36 steel in 1/8" (or thinner), sized larger than the stone?  I could pop holes in it to hang from wire, it would be less expensive than using a cookie sheet.  Or aluminum?  What is the maximun gap for the ceiling tile and could you recommend a place to get the floor tile?

Thanks,
Jeff

Offline henkverhaar

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Re: Can you stack two steel plates?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2013, 03:21:46 AM »
Jeff (jcny), as much as $15 is a great price for that size of steel, I don't see any application  where it would be useful in a broilerless home oven set up. Steel is a bottom browning accelerator. In an environment where bottom heat is heavily favored, there is no style of pizza that would benefit from an even faster bottom bake.

Am I missing something here? I would think that bottom heat from a broiler, or other oven component in the bottom of the oven wouldn't reach a pizza that is baked on a (thick) stone, or steel slab for that matter. I.e. if you are baking you pizza in a home oven on a stone or slab of steel, it will only get bottom heat from that piece of stone or steel during the relatively short time it spends in the oven, right. And therefore, as long as the max temperature of the oven is limited, steel will have an advantage over stone, no matter where the broiler is?

Or is your argument that the lack of top heat means that you will have to revert to longer baking times and thus increased bottom heat will be bad, because it will just burn the pizza?